Analysis English Language

Against Word Order & Alignment

Logan Kearsley lived in Belgium for three years as a child, but didn’t realize other languages were cool before moving back to the anglophone United States, where he started conlanging at a still-young age and eventually studied Russian in high school. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Master’s in Linguistics, and has had the opportunity to study a wide variety of languages while working to develop software for teaching and learning foreign languages at the university level and researching language pedagogy. He also reviews foreign-language and conlang content in film, audio, and written media.


From the definitions of the categories, it seems that there should be exactly six possible basic word orders, and five morphosyntactic alignments. Natural languages, however, are not that tidy. In this article, Logan explores the various ways in which natural languages fail to fit into the standard typological boxes, and encourages conlangers to break free of using these categories and prescriptive guides to language creation.

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